The MENA Golf Tour has generated a global buzz with players from different parts of the world signing up for the inaugural edition of the tour that gets under way in September.
These are early days, but already over 70 professionals and amateurs, representing 28 countries, have committed to play since the entries were thrown open on July 1, raising the prospects of an absorbing contest on the fairways and greens of the UAE.
A superb new initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the tour features four back-to-back tournaments, boasting a combined prize fund of $225,000. The starting field for each event will comprise 100 players, including invited MENA members and host countries.
Of the 100 golfers, 60 per cent will be Professionals and the rest Amateurs. In the event of a tournament being oversubscribed, which seems likely to be the case, the first 90 (50 professionals and 40 amateurs) entries will automatically be accepted and the balance will compete in a pre-tournament qualifying event for the remaining 10 places (five professionals and five amateurs).
Asian Tour veteran Ross Bain, who is also a ‘golf in DUBAi’ ambassador, highlighted the building excitement amongst the players, saying: “I can’t wait for the Tour to start. There’s some real talent out there. I can tell from interaction with the players that they are all excited about coming over and playing on the Tour which has the potential to throw up new champions.”
While the traditional golf powerhouses like the UK, the USA and Australia are well represented in the early list of entries, players from as far afield as Cameron, Vietnam, Brunei and Canada have also signed up, giving the tour truly a global look.
“We are absolutely delighted with the early response to the MENA Golf Tour events and look forward to welcoming the players here. It’s nice to see players from different parts of the world sign up for the events,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, Chairman of the MENA Golf Tour.
“With just two months to go, all our preparations are well on course for what we believe will be hard-fought events,” he added.
The first event will be held at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club from September 25 to 28 while the second and third event will be played from October 2 to 5 and October 9 to 12 at the Tower Links Golf in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai’s Al Badia Golf Club respectively before the tour reaches its climax with the ‘Tour Championship’ to be held at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf from October 16 to 19.
The top three professionals and the leading amateur from the Order of Merit will receive special invitations to compete in the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and, possibly, other European Tour events in the region.
Pic caption: Scotland’s Ross Bain says the MENA Golf Tour has the potential to throw up new champions